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Short-Form Contents: New Paradigm in the Digital Era

With the advent of contact-free culture due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people are paying attention more to various apps and video contents. In the first half of 2021, TikTok, an application used to create and share short videos within 15 seconds, has reached 2 billion cumulative downloads. Similarly, Instagram also brought out a new service, Reels, which allows people to create shortform videos. The popularity of ‘short-form content’ is increasing not only on apps but also in the media, entertainment, and the whole world. Therefore, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) will look at types of short-form content, reasons for its success, and its prospect.

What is Short-Form Content?

As the term ‘short-form content’ is wide in range, it cannot be accurately specified in one definition. In general, video contents that make up direct stories in a short time, could all be considered short-form content.

➊ Web Content

Short-form content, which is generally produced on online platforms, is important to have constant interaction with users for its success. Therefore, most successful short-form content is created seasonally, which means they are produced in a continuous serial format. Typically, there are web dramas and web entertainment sources. Web dramas usually target teenagers by evoking immersion and sympathy in a short time as its single-season is corresponding to one to three episodes of the TV drama. Web entertainment programs are released on the Internet, not on TV. Unlike TV entertainment programs, this web content could be enjoyed in short periods of time since it consists of 5 to 15 minute videos.

➋ Challenge Content

Challenge content is a kind of play by uploading a video or image of a shared topic on social networks. If another user finds that ‘challenge video,’ then the user uploads a video of the same topic. Along with daily life, challenge content is usually used in marketing and campaigns. The most representative case would be a video dance-along with Korean artist Zico’s single, Any Song. Not only for marketing, this challenge also became famous on TikTok due to the public’s high, active participation. In addition, as working at home has increased due to COVID-19, the number of contents that the whole family can use to challenge themselves in their daily lives is noticeably increasing. For instance, a 40-year-old office worker’s challenge content with his son where they wash their hands to prevent COVID-19 recorded 53 million views.

An Example of a Web Drama, Eighteen (albacross.com)

Main Factors of Short-form Content’s Success

-Following the New Consumption Trend

Short-form content successfully targets Generation Z, the main market of future content consumption. Generation Z is a generation born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. As they have used digital devices from childhood, they have set the trends through those devices, widely affecting such things as culture, society, and even economy. According to the PR News interview of university students’ perception on shortform content, most of the students answered that as they are taking public transportation, they enjoy watching shortform videos on YouTube or TikTok in the bus or subway.

Watching Short-Form Content in Subway (themoviedb.org, edaily.co.kr)

-Anybody Can Participate Easily and Freely!

Not only watching but also producing short-form content is convenient and fun. First, in terms of editing, one of the most important elements in video content is that it does not require any proficiency in creation. In particular, lots of short-form content platforms provide and continue to develop simplified editing services. In addition to the most representative editing features of TikTok and Instagram, there are YouTube’s ‘Shorts’ and Naver’s ‘Blog Moment’ services. Another advantage is that our daily lives, hobbies, and talents could be all subjects of content. These factors lowered the barriers of entering shortform content and participation and became a driving force of its popularity. A YouTuber, Hojin, who started self-styling content on how to make stylish hair in a short time as a hobby, reached 250,000 followers and received a lot of attention from students and office workers.

What Will Short-Form Content Be in the Future?

-Activation of Short-Form Content in Company and Enterprise

The short-form trend, which requires people to show their charms in 15 seconds, has a huge impact on business communities. As the advertising structure changed rapidly to create more short-form content, outstanding influencers with diverse characteristics are also expected to get attention from various companies and platforms. Kakao M, a content company, announced its ambition to become an exclusive short-form content company in Korea by recruiting various star producers from abroad and competent startup workers.

-Toward a New Challenge

So far, Korea’s video and broadcasting contents can make a foundation to move to overseas markets with the Korean wave. With the advent of the digital video era, it is time for short-form content to solidify its position in the global market as a cultural industry in Korea. At a time when the boundaries between production and consumption are unclear, short-form content will be able to provide a wide range of possibilities. For short-form content’s Korean wave to be successful, new attempts should be developed. Attempts should not be a short-term achievement but a long-term success in the global market. As such, the Korean content industry is facing opportunities for growth and global expansion.

Short-Form Content in the Spotlight (campaignindia.in)

Short-form content is reshaping the media system, capturing both convenience and fun. However, it is not certain whether the short-form content market, which has just begun to ignite, will guarantee long-term success. In particular, there are always countless variables in the success of content, which makes it difficult to predict it. Nevertheless, it is true that we are in the era of short-form content.

김민규  minguekim@g.skku.edu

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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